The Mystery Flaw of Solar Panels

26 sep. 2020
2 043 172 Weergaven

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Writer/Narrator: Brian McManus
Editor: Dylan Hennessy (
Animator: Mike Ridolfi (
Sound: Graham Haerther (
Thumbnail: Simon Buckmaster

[5] Page 27
[8] Chapter 3
[10] Page 14

Thank you to AP Archive for access to their archival footage.

Music by Epidemic Sound:

Thank you to my patreon supporters: Adam Flohr, Henning Basma, Hank Green, William Leu, Tristan Edwards, Ian Dundore, John & Becki Johnston. Nevin Spoljaric, Jason Clark, Thomas Barth, Johnny MacDonald, Stephen Foland, Alfred Holzheu, Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Binghaith, Brent Higgins, Dexter Appleberry, Alex Pavek, Marko Hirsch, Mikkel Johansen, Hibiyi Mori. Viktor Józsa, Ron Hochsprung

  • Bottom line as an Engineer, if I designed something that was only 18% efficient, my company would fire me. Let’s look at the efficiency of the combustion engine. 35%Exhaust 30% Coolant Heat 5% Friction and Parasitic Losses 30% Effective Power. That’s double your efficiency of a solar panel, and you don’t need an expensive bank of ion batteries to store the energy. No energy produced at night it’s dark. I have a property with a year round gradient stream flowing through. I have installed a 2 Kw generator to harness the power of hydro electric power, which is way more efficient than 18%. 18% is not worth my while, get that to 65% efficiency and I’m interested, providing the cost and the payback is 10 years.

    Son Off A WitchSon Off A Witch16 uur geleden
  • This man does not understand anything about what he is talking about. You can check for yourself, the minus pole, the solar cells are on the sun side, at the top.

    PrimeATK 358PrimeATK 3583 dagen geleden
  • UK,s Mrs May that well known Jewish woman when she was PM she slashed £1000 of the green grant for an EV ,hybrids fared a lot worse ,raised the VAT on all things solar from 5% to 20% ,she also scrapped the feed in tariff , The Paris accord her party signed up for will see a massive rise in inflation & higher energy prices + a rise in taxes & charges . Go green save the planet your being had the elite are filling their pockets with your cash !

    Peter HicksPeter Hicks6 dagen geleden
  • Goodness. Why does his voice sound so enthralling?

    AxanaAxana8 dagen geleden
  • Then it snowed and no energy was produced !

    Peter HicksPeter Hicks8 dagen geleden
  • You removed your Hydrogen video 😄

    Hashir HaroonHashir Haroon9 dagen geleden
  • This is now irrelevant since the Chinese solar industry (Which is the sole manufacturer sector with this defect) is now effectively bankrupt.

    t5grrrt5grrr10 dagen geleden
  • Do the solar farms have fins on the backside of the panels to act as a heat sink to reduce the temperature?

    Joey CJoey C12 dagen geleden
  • The electrons are (ultimately) moving to the positive side of the panel. I think could be a reason why.

    Slime in a BoxSlime in a Box12 dagen geleden
  • and all that complicated professional educational sounding high speed 15 minutes or so to advertise some courses.....pretty good scam I'd say.

    Gerry SGerry S13 dagen geleden
  • Try.mirroring 2 opposites flipping over back and fourth capture 0100 %

    Steven LonienSteven Lonien14 dagen geleden
  • The biggest flaw is when there is no sunshine

    Allen ChamberlainAllen Chamberlain14 dagen geleden
  • very detailed info. thanks. love your channel.

    801GMC801GMC14 dagen geleden
  • A very informative video- I like how you go into detail on the importance of silicon and semi conductors. There are some other issues too with solar that don't get discussed often enough. Cheers!

    ImaginaryAdversaryImaginaryAdversary16 dagen geleden
  • (1) Somehow, most people are unaware about CdTe thin film technology, which currently generates the cheapest solar-plant-scale energy, it is the most environmental friendly (the lowest carbon and water footprint in the industry), has the fastest energy payback time, 90% recyclable, has the lowest warranted degradation rate, has no cracking issues etc. (2) It is not the electric field that separates the charge carriers, but a difference of electron and hole mobilities on two sides of a cell (see paper IEEE J. Photovolt. 5 (2015) 461). The field is a by-product of forming the n- and p- doped layers, which is the simplest way of creating the difference in carrier mobilities. The field somewhat affects the drift currents, but it is not the root cause of carrier separation.

    Dmitry KrasikovDmitry Krasikov16 dagen geleden
  • 2:04 that animation seems to show that photons reflect off of the electrons. The photons should be absorbed.

    nitroxide91nitroxide9118 dagen geleden
    • @Googie Gress Some photons are reflected yes (these don’t liberate electrons). But the photons that liberate electrons are absorbed.

      nitroxide91nitroxide9117 dagen geleden
    • I think he's trying to show that some percentage of the energy is reflected. Earlier he has the portion of the arrow post-reflection as faded-out to illustrate it.

      Googie GressGoogie Gress17 dagen geleden
  • thank you for educating me.

    european knighteuropean knight18 dagen geleden
  • i often said, those copper based calculator cells are way more efficient than quartz blue solar panels... the blue quartz need sun direct light, the copper will transform any light source into energy... its a cheaper and flexible tech, lost in the financial interest of this quartz based cell industry... call it a conspiracy if u need... or think.

    octaneoctane19 dagen geleden
  • I wonder if the mystery flaw of solar panels is just planned obsolescence... hmmm

    WuddadidWuddadid19 dagen geleden
  • Not sure I understood any of this video, but it's good to know your on top of this.

    Tommy CollierTommy Collier19 dagen geleden
  • Black absorbs light, we need more black. Also why are the panels glassy looking and flat ? Surely some sort of uneven black material should be on the surface.

    D ManD Man19 dagen geleden
  • Great video,keep it up and thanks for sharing.

    Clifton TibbitsClifton Tibbits20 dagen geleden
  • I sit and watch things like this and I can not help but laugh at how dumb I really am compared to the people working on these problems.

    sicknic715sicknic71520 dagen geleden
  • But we have transparent metal now! Woo! There, I fixed it for ya. 😁

    ThePinkBinksThePinkBinks20 dagen geleden
  • Report the full truth please. Some people want to believe science is real.

    Boingfish1Boingfish121 dag geleden
  • The flaw is that and more, even more important. 100% dependency of the CCP. THAT inefficiency is more important than the gains you report.

    Boingfish1Boingfish121 dag geleden
  • How about e waste from not recycling these solar panels in their after life?

    agav bondagav bond21 dag geleden
  • Sandbagged science

    guy sumpthinguy sumpthin21 dag geleden
  • The problem is nature tells us they're the wrong colour.

    Blue SiferBlue Sifer22 dagen geleden
  • Stupid science Science doesn't know The Earth ' s core pushes into the moon ' s core 1460 tons electricity per second causing tides on Earth The emitted Earth ' s magnetic field flies in circle, returning to its original position after 10 seconds, thus pushing the moon to orbit the Earth in order

    Thạnh PhạmThạnh Phạm23 dagen geleden
  • You forgot the biggest problem with solar power sometimes it’s cloudy sometimes it’s dark , therefore you need to be able to store the electricity. Unfortunately we don’t have the battery technology to store electricity on a large scale. Yet

    Joe SmithJoe Smith23 dagen geleden
  • I see. It's an advertisement for 'Brilliant'! It's a brilliant way to get an advertisement into a video.

    Bill KitchenBill Kitchen24 dagen geleden
  • The transparent conducting layer is NOT metal but Indium Tin Oxide.

    Stephen JacksStephen Jacks25 dagen geleden
  • this is a good video to explain transistor construction, too (n-type & p-type topic)

    Robert GreeneRobert Greene26 dagen geleden
  • But why the holes jump to the N type? If there are some holes for some electrons, it would not be enaugh when the electrons fill the hole?

    javier cordeirojavier cordeiro26 dagen geleden
  • This video should have been titled "The Fraud of Solar Panels" as even the video is fraudulent, starting with its opening statements that the reason the number of solar panels are expanding is because of price when it is all political and that fossil energy plants are being forced out of the market because of anything other then government restrictions.

    arnold painearnold paine26 dagen geleden
  • Now if bill gates dims the sunshine for climate control we have less energy we better leave mother nature alone

    Brian coughlinBrian coughlin27 dagen geleden
  • Thousands of homeless Noone can donate them some solar power, most people go broke tryna pay xcel

    Hex MorenoHex Moreno27 dagen geleden
  • Only 20% solar panel sucks🤣

    Anand PrakashAnand PrakashMaand geleden
  • 11:44 AMAZING!

    Steampunk AstronautSteampunk AstronautMaand geleden
  • your video is copied by the china channel.

    林辰叡 ray林辰叡 rayMaand geleden
  • Why don't they use graphene instead of metal? Graphene is transparent and hence won't block sunlight and can conduct electricity

    Aadil PatelAadil PatelMaand geleden
  • 🌹🌸🥀 SUPER COOL 🌺 🌻 🌼 💐 🧕👲🙏

    lovu. eulovu. euMaand geleden
  • The obeisant greek cephalometrically damage because freeze coincidingly shiver times a debonair sign. materialistic, hapless quince

    simon wangsimon wangMaand geleden
  • My word to 'SOLAR ENERGY " ! No one talk about the millions of butteries we have to replace every 3 to 5 years. Look your car battery lest normal only 5 years But it is only one, Now you have to replace 10 or more will be about 4 to 5000 Dollar with installation. Now you se how much you save . And old batteries polluting the environment more then smoke and oil.

    BerndSpindlerBerndSpindlerMaand geleden
  • Efficiency is only relevant when using it to calculate dollar per watt hours.

    zsqdukezsqdukeMaand geleden
  • Electronic fact silicon baced diodes are made from contacting p and n doped silicon.

    Mop's backup accountMop's backup accountMaand geleden
  • Okay so I just got a solar panel ad... Coincidence!? I think not!

    ScibananaScibananaMaand geleden
  • It's really no mystery for those few who hold the secret.

    Natural TechnologistNatural TechnologistMaand geleden
    • Care to illuminate the rest of us?

      I'm Okay ,I'm Okay ,Maand geleden
  • Temperature coefficients of degraded crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules at outdoor conditions

    Michel Piliougine RochaMichel Piliougine RochaMaand geleden
  • This didn't have to be boring, did it???

    Joseph StokesJoseph StokesMaand geleden
  • Wow this video is super racist. How dare you say that about George Floyd! You're finished

    andrew vanordenandrew vanordenMaand geleden
  • Solar is shitty and gay. Surprise

    andrew vanordenandrew vanordenMaand geleden
  • What about using graphene? Or what its called..

    Unknown StrangerUnknown StrangerMaand geleden
  • What we really need is a solar panel company with the marketing level of Apple. Unfortunately the solar revolution can’t happen if it doesn’t produce a profit

    Connor MartinConnor MartinMaand geleden
  • So Boron is basically Silicon's pimp opening up it's holes.

    Khoa TranKhoa TranMaand geleden
  • I’d love a real engineering podcast

    Daniel Misgana ShiferawDaniel Misgana Shiferaw2 maanden geleden
  • Maybe solar panels should mimic nature. Like leaf's, darken as the sun becomes bright and lighten as the sun becomes less prevalent. Auto tinting?

    Richard MarshRichard Marsh2 maanden geleden

    Marvie AguilaMarvie Aguila2 maanden geleden
  • Here’s what I think...with the cost of panels continuing to drop - 20% is good enough - increase the focus on the constraint - energy storage

    Will McKintyWill McKinty2 maanden geleden
  • The faithful minute quickly matter because spear approximately sound despite a miniature offence. remarkable, parsimonious cell

    Joan ScottJoan Scott2 maanden geleden
  • In 10 years, the renewable hype will be over. Why do I say that? Because it only works when the wind blows, and the sun shines. You can’t have hospitals, industries, infrastructure etc working under those premises.

    Mikael JonssonMikael Jonsson2 maanden geleden
  • That was the smoothest continuous segue into and ad I have ever seen. I mean the ones you typically get hit with come at you with cheap slap stick cliches you can see coming from a mile away.

    JCGoogleJCGoogle2 maanden geleden
  • This was an excellent, digestible explanation. Nice work.

    Mike MacLeodMike MacLeod2 maanden geleden
  • Great job. I am also an Engineer and am a believer when serious technical resources are applied in several places consistently there will be progress. Apparently more than $200B/yr will be spent on photovoltaic by 2026. Question: how much land area will be dedicated to solar energy?

    Zip CotterZip Cotter2 maanden geleden
  • Can we charge the solar cells at night?

    Bader Al SalehBader Al Saleh2 maanden geleden
  • Solar cells are not renewable. It takes far more coal to make each megawatt of solar power than that obtained by simply burning the coal. The same is true with wind turbines. Solar cells and turbines are made with coal power. The whole “green” movement is all about big business screwing the taxpayer. Just ask that idiot Michael Moore, he finally figured it out in his latest book “Planet of the Humans”.

    IichthusIichthus2 maanden geleden
    • That's just blatantly false. There are dozens of papers estimating the resources required to build a wind turbine, even more for solar, and they consistently show that the amount of power that renewables generate far outweigh their material cost.

      infinitelyExplosiveinfinitelyExplosive2 maanden geleden
  • A VERY well deserved thumbs down. Real Engineering does not tell you about the REAL solution that exists right now and which can also double the output. Wonder how much Real Engineering got paid to keep a lid on this solution.

    Dune XapaDune Xapa2 maanden geleden
  • Talk about investing in an questionable technology, and betting your welfare on it!

    John SavageJohn Savage2 maanden geleden
  • Google "Sliver cells" and you will be wondering why such a break through cell which is way more efficient than the conventional solar disappeared from production...

    John DoeJohn Doe2 maanden geleden
  • Good work. Soon or later, they will come up with the leaf!

    szolanekszolanek2 maanden geleden
  • Simply ............Brilliant!

    Robert BruceRobert Bruce2 maanden geleden
  • Solar panel barely last a year in those harsh desert. Waste of silicon, better to make more rtx 3000

    OS. TemliOS. Temli2 maanden geleden
  • You need to discuss the vast tracts of land that have to be given over to the renewable power sources. What is the lifespan of the panels and how will aged panels be disposed of?

    Pieter UysPieter Uys2 maanden geleden
  • These only work less than 30% of the time on top of the flaw. Your comparison to baseload power sources is not valid.

    JohnJohn2 maanden geleden
  • Extremely well done!! Thank you.

    Jes.e B.Jes.e B.2 maanden geleden
  • Dust

    Kef103Kef1032 maanden geleden
  • 16:54

    TheTikiManTheTikiMan2 maanden geleden
  • Think outside the box. You can only push so many pigs through a farm gate. Why should electrons be any different? KISS Keep It simple stupid?

    David MunroDavid Munro2 maanden geleden
  • Good explanation of the limits and obstacles to higher panel efficiency. But 230,000 MW is not an "astounding figure". This is simply 230 TWh. Meanwhile world electricity production is more than a 25,082 TWh (in 2016). Which means, solar is still less than 1% (in 2019). Not much. Which of course doesn't mean it's efficiency will not increase in importance with time. And the suggestion or hint that solar is responsible for the reduction in coal is a stereotype. An increase of about 0.5% (panels) cannot cause a decrease of about 5%(coal). Actually natural gas is displacing coal. And gas is a hydrocarbon. So please stop the gallumphing.

    Chavdar NaidenovChavdar Naidenov2 maanden geleden
  • The overrated band preferentially trip because men mostly connect versus a needless eggplant. victorious, nondescript sausage

    Vi TrongVi Trong2 maanden geleden
  • No mystery. Sun don't shine they don't work.

    Kimberly WiederholdKimberly Wiederhold2 maanden geleden
  • Please do a video on why solar cell efficiency drops as they grow hotter.

    Mike SMike S2 maanden geleden
  • Yeah MatSci and EE.

    Marty MajixMarty Majix2 maanden geleden
  • So dope is a good thing after all. N and P doping allows AC. Semiconductors are D.C. devices of their own personality, therefore complimentary symmetry completes the sine wave. More than they know.

    Marty MajixMarty Majix2 maanden geleden
  • Efficiency is proper Engineering.

    Marty MajixMarty Majix2 maanden geleden
  • Simplistic thinking. There is so much more.

    Marty MajixMarty Majix2 maanden geleden
  • Triplet State and REDOX are underestimated.

    Marty MajixMarty Majix2 maanden geleden
  • All transistors are inherently photoactive.

    Marty MajixMarty Majix2 maanden geleden
  • The changing Sun negates all bets, Photons do not swim well through Ice and a changing mean solar emission frequency plays against efficiency.

    Marty MajixMarty Majix2 maanden geleden
  • We got sucked into that one. Brilliant.

    B WB W2 maanden geleden
  • The Power loss of "light induced degradation" will never be completely solved. So, you add the losses together of bad weather, loss of light due to nighttime, and "lid", and you have inefficiencies that make solar unusable to replace Coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, and wind. I have to use coal just to heat my home in the Winter because the other means are too costly. I will not reveal how I obtain the coal. I just get it.

    longshorts3longshorts32 maanden geleden
  • I worked at a solar company in the early 80s the cells we were testing got 18% - 22% efficiency.

    perry lcperry lc2 maanden geleden
  • Watch Planet of the Humans on NLworld, green energy is a scam sold as a good thing, while billionaires get richer. “Green” is not green

    No ID ReculseNo ID Reculse2 maanden geleden
  • 8:47 - "a hole that wants to be filled"

    JunaidJunaid2 maanden geleden
  • Please do a video that explains loss of productivity due to hearing of the panels. Thanks

    Pat HPat H2 maanden geleden
  • Took 12 1/2 minutes to get to the poìnt.

    ian cormieian cormie2 maanden geleden
  • Selenium was prevalent in photo-copying machines, that was the sensitive material in the drums. Also, there are still issues with mining & extraction of all these materials for the dubious endeavor of so-called "renewables", along with production, installation, maintenance, operation, deterioration, marketing, logistics, distribution, infra-structure, disposal, waste, & other factors, including research process, often ignored but required in the Life Cycle that transcends & persists for generations. Beside the fundamental energy concerns that are still inherent. Commendable that utmost efficiency is pursued in the lab, but not maintained in field or imposing issues in other areas including harm to people & environment. Beside studying natural phenomena that has achieved efficient effective relationships & fulfilled niche, but people ultimately find ways to foul those relationships & functions, such as exploiting & depleting bio-services, introducing invasives, distortion, contaminated, poison, ... Beside the basic & common ignorance, even smartest people often cleverly deceptive, obfuscate, devious, & self-indulgent of basic vice. My philosophy has determined that there are distinctions between engineering & science. An essential education requires developing critical faculties, exposing logical fallacies, adhering to disciplined experiment method, posing hypotheses & questions, healthy objectivity (absurdly in ScAmerika this is criticized by actual bigots & hypocrites without regard to the ignorance & other consequences) & skepticism, requirement of convincing evidence, rarely settling for an absolute conclusion while becoming disciplined & adhering to a virtuous aesthetic, which are absent among those promoting so-called sustainability development goals, promoting further extraction, damage, excessive consumption, & socio-econ disparity while indulging schemes, scams, injustice, & evading accountability.

    Franklin BluntFranklin Blunt2 maanden geleden
  • Isn't it strange. If I applied to build a factory on green land there would be an outer. Apply for a solar or wind farm no problem despise they are a blot on the landscape and cause extreme problems for wildlife. On top of that very little of them can be recycled.

    Shaun RyanShaun Ryan2 maanden geleden
  • The thankful multimedia observationally hang because honey physically chop within a spotted santa. daffy, taboo pumpkin

    Zem KhanZem Khan2 maanden geleden